Musty basements with whirring dehumidifiers and flickering fluorescent lights might not sound like the best setting for live theater, but you wouldn't know how well it all works unless you try it.
"This is terrific. The actors, the performance, it's really terrific. It all adds to the atmosphere," John Sacksteder of Elgin said as he emerged Saturday afternoon from the basement of a business on Chicago Street, one of four locations part of "Walkabout: Theater on Your Feet" presented by the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission.
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This year's event features works by Edgar Allan Poe, adapted and performed by local theater companies in four locations -- four basements -- in downtown Elgin. It is held in conjunction with the 4th annual Art & Soul on the Fox taking place downtown through Sunday.
Basements pair up perfectly with Poe's taste for the moody and macabre, Elgin resident Shirley Hernandez agreed. "The location, the lighting, the actors. It felt I was in the early 1810s in a mental institution," she said. "It was so intimate. I think that's what made it feel like I was back in that time."
Lisa Eby of Elgin said her favorite activity at Art & Soul on the Fox is perusing the 80 or so arts and crafts vendor booths, all of them from the greater Chicago area. Eby has a particular passion for antiques, which she buys and sells on eBay, she said. "It's really a nice, positive, fun thing to do," Eby said.
While Eby didn't buy anything, others found small treasures, like Carolyn Williams, also of Elgin, who bought a photograph of Wing Park taken by local photographer Karen Castillo of Lemon Drop Designs. The photo included a Bible verse. "This really reminds me of my sister," Williams said. "We used to go on the Ferris wheel (at Wing Park), and have fun. There is so much history there for me."
West Dundee residents Dorothy and Hermann Pigors said they especially enjoyed the music of the Jazz Consortium Big Band, part of the Kaleidoscope music festival that featured different types of music throughout the day. "It was very nice. We walked around the craft booths and saw some very interesting things," Dorothy Pigors said. "It was a nice way to spend our day."
Art & Soul on the Fox continues from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday on DuPage Court, South Grove Avenue and South Spring Street in downtown Elgin. For more information, visit artsoulonthefox.wordpress.com.
Tickets are still available for "Walkabout: Theater on Your Feet, Tales from Poe" with tours starting every 15 minutes from 2 to 3 p.m. Tickets are $15, cash only at the door. For information call (847) 841-1713 or visit www.elginwalkabout.com.